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Graduate Association for African American History (GAAAH) 17th Annual Conference

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CALL FOR PAPERS: The Graduate Association for African American History (GAAAH)  University of Memphis  17th Annual Conference 
"From Slavery to Freedom: The Black Experience throughout the African Diaspora" 

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“To Be or Not to Be”: Choosing between a Black and African-American identity

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“One ever feels his twoness-an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warring ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.”
W. E. B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk
Hey scholars! For the past several months, I have been reading, listening, and speaking about identities and preferences, especially Americans. For people of color, we have to use hyphens to specify our ethnicities before identifying as Americans. Of course, white Americans can use this too, for example, Irish-American, Italian- American, so on and so forth. To quote Toni Morrison, “In this country, American means white. Everybody else has to hyphenate.” It is as if the hyphen is a constant reminder of what you are not and that is American because of your otherness. The hyphen literally and figuratively separates your identities. As if being black and American makes you a foreigner. Hell, maybe it does.  
For convenience sake, if you are white in A…

“I want to feel what I feel. Even if it’s not happiness.”: Exploring The Strong Black Woman Archetype

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I wish I knew how It would feel to be free I wish I could break All the chains holdin' me I wish I could say All the things that I should say Say 'em loud say 'em clear For the whole 'round world to hear

Nina Simone- I Wish I Knew How Good it Felt to Be Free 
Hey scholars!
Recently, while going through some stuff in my closet, I came across a note a friend wrote for me back in 2010 as we wrapped up our study abroad trip in South Africa. She wrote many humbling and beautiful things in this note. One of the things that stood out to me was her referring to me as a strong (black) woman. As I read that line, I wondered what was it about me that led to her defining me in such a way. Do not get me wrong, I took it then and even now, as a compliment. I read that note, particularly that line, over and over again. As I did so, I thought back to where I was mentally. The year 2010 started out on a strong note. I was accepted into graduate school to obtain a Master’s in Humanities with a co…

Interracial Relationships, Symbols of Hate, and Supreme Court Rulings

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Hey scholars!
This post is an Author’s Spotlight and a Promotion of a forthcoming double novel. The topic of this new book is very controversial and in my opinion is relevant and right on time with what is going on in our society today. This post is going to cover quite a bit of information and topics but I truly hope you enjoy it. So let us get into it.
In my "20 Random Facts About Me" post, I listed two of my favorite authors. One of those writers is Tiana Laveen. I began reading her work in 2012 with her publication, “The Slave Master’s Son.” The story piqued my interest because not only is it an interracial romance novel, it is also a historical novel. At the time I came across this book, I was finishing my Master’s thesis, which explores the creative works of Black American women. I strongly believe in bringing fiction into the classroom as does many other educators who have and are currently using such works in their curriculum. I make a greater argument for using histo…

We Ain't What We Ought to Be

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Stephen Tuck. We Ain’t What We Ought to Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama. Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2010. 


         In We Ain’t What We Ought to Be, Tuckargues that “there was no such thing as a single black protest agenda,” “no single black experience,” nor was there “a single black culture” (3). Instead the fight for civil rights was fought by diverse participants who utilized diverse tactics and strategies to achieve their goals on local and national levels. Tuck demonstrates how activists were diverse in their goals. For example, the rivalry between Booker T. Washington and W.E.B Du Bois demonstrated how some activists believed that racial uplift could be achieved through accommodation while others believed that political and social power was the best approach. Many activists were separatists while others were integrationists and there were those who supported the back to Africa movement while others believed in the American dream. We Ain’t What W…

Impossible Subjects

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Mae M. Ngai. Impossible Subjects: Illegal Aliens and the Making of Modern America. Princeton:Princeton University Press, 2004. 


In Impossible Subjects Ngai argues that in the 20th century ideas of citizenship, race, and the nation-state were shaped by restrictive immigration policy. The period from 1924-1965 is critical to Ngai for a couple of reasons. First, many historians studying immigration have focused on immigration from Europe prior to 1924. The next wave of scholarship on immigration has been situated in the period after 1965, “when the national origins quota system was abolished and immigration from the third world increased” (3). The second reason is because the Johnson-Reed Act of 1924 was the first comprehensive restrictive law. This law established the first ever “numerical limitations on immigration and a global racial and national hierarchy that favored some immigrants over others” (3). Ngai outlines the two ways in which restrictive immigration policy “remapped” the na…

Charleston, South Carolina: The Ellis Island for Enslaved Africans

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Historians have referred to Charleston as the "Ellis Island for African Americans" because roughly fifty percent of enslaved Africans brought to America during the transatlantic slave trade entered through ports in the lowcountry of South Carolina. this phrase is controversial because the immigrants at Ellis Island arrived there voluntarily whereas Africans were captured and brought here against their will. There are a number of reasons why Africans were brought to the low country, the main reasons had to due with climate, crops, and labor. First, the climate of the lowcountry is similar to that of countries in West Africa such as Sierra Leone, Cote d'Ivoire (Ivory Coast), and the Senegambia region (Senegal and the Gambia). The Europeans were not used to this type of climate making Africans perfect for the area. Second, rice crops were prevalent to the region. Africans, not Europeans, were knowledgeable about rice cultivation again making them a perfect solution to the …